Looking for a way to increase your vegetable intake and cut out meat? Vegetarian meal prep is the perfect way to accomplish that, and it can be a great cost-friendly option that helps you stick to your goals.
Vegetarianism refers to the practice of excluding meat, poultry and fish from your diet, whether that be for health, moral or religious reasons and has become increasingly popular.
There are many types of vegetarians and vegetarian diets.
Let’s quickly explore the most popular versions starting with being vegan.
The vegan diet excludes all animal products and byproducts from your diet. Looking to go vegan? Check out the Top 10 Best Vegan Meal Prep Websites reviewed by ThinkFit.
Other types of vegetarianism include lacto-vegetarian, ovo-vegetarian and lacto-ovo vegetarian. By just looking at those names, you are probably asking yourself:
What do they mean?
Lacto-vegetarian excludes any form of meat and eggs from the diet but includes dairy products.
Ovo-vegetarian excludes meat and dairy from your diet but allows eggs.
The most common type of vegetarianism is the lacto-ovo vegetarian. Lacto-ovo involves excluding meat but including both dairy and eggs into your diet.
There are also some other diets that are similar to vegetarianism that include meats or seafood. Pescatarian excludes meat, dairy, and eggs but allows for fish. However, most pescatarians include dairy and eggs into their diet.
Pollotarians eat poultry only and otherwise stick to a vegetarian diet.
All of these options focus on having a primarily plant-based diet, which can promote improved health.
What are the potential health benefits from focusing on vegetarian meal prep?
- It may decrease your risk of various types of cancer
- You’re likely to have lower cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure
- It may help you lose weight in the short-term
- You might lower risk of Type-2 diabetes and obesity
These benefits don’t come automatically with cutting meat out of your diet. You need to make sure you are getting the right amount of calories. This includes having a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet.
You should also limit your intake of processed foods and alcohol and avoid unhealthful fats. Be sure to also limit foods with added sugar and salt.
What’s the most important thing to remember?
Engage in an overall healthy lifestyle, including plenty of exercise!
There are more benefits to the vegetarian diet than just those that are health related. Some of these include sustainability and ethicality. Vegetarianism is better for the environment, and, for some, you might view a non-vegetarian diet as being immoral to your values regarding animals.
Since it might help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, those who are at risk of having high cholesterol and blood pressure might want to give this diet a try.
This is perfect for those looking to live a healthier lifestyle.
Vegetarian meal prep is good for both the environment and your body. The focus of vegetarianism is on nutrient-dense and low-calorie foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This focus with the combination of the potential health benefits make for a great option to have that healthy lifestyle you’ve been wanting.
After listing these benefits, you might want to get your feet wet by trying this diet without fully committing yet.
A great way to start is partaking in Meatless Mondays.
Start off by giving meat up every Monday. This is a great way to start incorporating more vegetarian meals into your diet! If you are new to meal prep, you can even try just meal prepping on Meatless Mondays. Having just a day prepped ahead without meat is a great way to start your vegetarian meal prep journey.
ThinkFit has some general meal prep tips for you to get started.
Top 5 Tips:
1. Plan ahead. Going to the grocery store can be a daunting task, so make sure you have a list prepared ahead of time. This will help you get through the store faster and not be tempted to buy other items. Stick to your list!
2. Cook for the whole week ahead. On Sundays, you might dread your upcoming week jammed with work meetings. When you cook for the whole week, you are able to feel a sense of relief knowing you’ve already prepped your meals and made those decisions.
3. After cooking, store the food in individual portions. Storing your meals in individual portions makes it easier to have your meal ready to go no matter the time of day.
4. With having your meals individually portioned, you want to make sure you have the best containers for them. ThinkFit has some great options for meal prep containers and bags on our website. Click here to check them out.
5. Utilize your kitchen appliances. Whether you have a blender or a slow cooker, you can find tons of vegetarian recipes that use these appliances.
So, now what?
Since we’ve covered some tips, let’s get into a grocery list that works great for vegetarian meal prep and lists plenty of nutrient-dense items.
Grocery list items:
-Vegetables: kale, zucchini, bell peppers, carrots, spinach, lettuce, corn, potatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, brussel sprouts, cucumber, celery
-Fruits: apples, bananas, berries, oranges, grapefruit, melons
-Grains: whole grain bread, quinoa, brown rice, oats, whole grain pasta
-Nuts & Seeds: almonds, walnuts, flax and chia seeds
-Legumes: beans, lentils, chickpeas
-Healthy fats: olive and coconut oil, avocados
-Protein foods: soy products like tofu and tempeh, eggs, dairy products
When at the grocery store, don’t be discouraged from using frozen fruits and vegetables. Oftentimes, these foods are picked at the peak of their freshness. Frozen fruits and vegetables can also last longer than fresh ones, so it’s always great to have some on hand.
Also, sometimes fresh fruits and veggies can be expensive. If you’re looking to save some money, especially with the current economy, buying them frozen can be a great way to do cheap vegetarian meal prep.
Now that we’ve listed off some potential grocery items…
Let’s get into the fun part: vegetarian meal prep recipes!
This first recipe is from Savory + Savvy and makes for the perfect vegetarian meal prep bowl. These Vegetarian Meal Prep Breakfast Bowls make for the perfect bite in the morning for a whole week.
This recipe is filling, flavorful, and fresh. The combination of black beans and eggs makes for a great source of protein, which can often be something vegetarians worry about getting enough into their diet.
These are great options because you prep them ahead of time, so, if you’re in a rush to get out of the door in the morning, you are able to just grab this from your fridge and heat it up in your office.
This second recipe is a seven-for-one deal. It’s 7 Delicious Steel Cut Oats from Sweet Pea and Saffron. This is another great meal prep option for a quick breakfast in the morning. You are able to refrigerate and even freeze these oats, so they stay fresh for the whole week.
Steel cut oats are a great source of fiber. These oats come seven different ways, including apple cinnamon, pumpkin, blueberry lemon, peanut butter chocolate, coconut key lime, zucchini chocolate, and strawberry vanilla chai. These diverse flavors will never leave you feeling bored about breakfast.
Once you get later into your day, recipes tend to include more meat in them. Don’t let this discourage you if you find yourself leaning towards having meals with meat. There are plenty of recipes out there that don’t include meat for lunch, or even dinner.
This third recipe is for Maple Mustard Tempeh Meal Prep Bowls by Eating Bird Food. While this recipe does take a little bit longer to make, it is totally worth it.
Quinoa and tempeh make this vegetarian meal prep idea high in protein, totaling up to 23 grams. Accompanied with brussel sprouts and greens, this lunch is sure to leave you feeling full and satisfied.
This fourth recipe comes from Budget Bytes: Roasted Vegetable Salad. The nice thing about Budget Bytes is that the prices are included in the recipe, and this recipe in particular is a great option for cheap vegetarian meal prep.
Totaling out to $11.62 for the whole recipe and just $2.91 a serving, this recipe is a bang for your buck! This recipe is packed with vegetables and quinoa, which makes for a flavorfully diverse lunch.
This fifth recipe comes from Simply Quinoa. It’s Meal Prep Quinoa Bowls with Spring Vegetables.
This recipe features ingredients you might not typically go for in the grocery store. It has asparagus, cauliflower, and radishes just to name a few ingredients. This is a great option to switch up your usual ingredient palette.
These are the perfect option for vegetarian meal prep bowls.
This sixth recipe is packed with protein and also comes from Simply Quinoa. It’s a Rainbow Vegetable Quinoa Stir Fry. It comes with 17 grams of protein per serving.
This stir fry is true to its name with five different vegetables, including kale and bell peppers.
This recipe is made in one pan and is ready in under 20 minutes. It makes four servings, so there is plenty to have for your meal prep for the week.
This seventh, and final recipe, features Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Black Beans and Quinoa from Well Plated.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making it a nice base to have for this meal. Quinoa and black beans bring the protein to this dish, which is what makes it so filling.
by Erin Clarke of Well Plated
This recipe is hearty and filling and will leave you feeling satisfied after your meal.
Now that we’ve provided you with some great vegetarian meal prep recipe ideas, we want to remind you that ThinkFit is here with you along your journey.
Having a support system is key in making strides toward your health goals, especially when making a change to your diet.
The switch to become vegetarian can be hard.
Here are some final tips for success:
Cut meat out of your diet gradually. Cutting all meats out immediately can be challenging, so start with meatless mondays and then start to add more meatless days slowly each week.
Experiment with different flavors. Adding various spices to your dishes can be a great way to bring more flavor to the plate.
Make small tweaks to your already favorite dishes. Some of your favorite dishes may include meat. Try substituting the meat with a vegetarian option like beans or tofu.
Remember, you are not alone. ThinkFit is committed to your wellness. We want to help you achieve that happier, healthier, stress-free lifestyle you’ve always wanted.
Before we finish things up, we want to leave you with three additional resources that focus on vegetarian meal prep and dieting.
This first one is How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman. This cookbook includes more than 2,000 recipes! You’ll never find yourself bored of meal prepping the same meal. These recipes are simple and straightforward, while still bringing great flavors to the dish.
Looking for a cookbook specific to vegetarian meal prep? Check out The Vegetarian Meal Prep Cookbook by Lisa Danielson. This book includes meal prep plans, pro tips, and recipes. It is a great option for budget-friendly meals.
ChooseVeg is a great website resource to check out. The home page is full of tips about tackling vegetarianism. They have tabs that focus on how to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet, getting extra help, and connecting with communities who are also making the switch.
Finally, you can follow the #vegetarian or #vegetarianrecipes on Instagram. Here you can find millions of appetizing vegetarian options.
We hope you are feeling inspired to start your vegetarian meal prep journey. Don’t forget to tag ThinkFit in your posts! We would love to see the creations you come up with.